TPLO

What the heck is it?

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy

Now, you may be wondering why I’m throwing out there such a phrase. Well, our pooch, Jessie, has been limping or lame on her right rear leg for over a year now. After our original vet could not figure out what was wrong, we decided to take Jessie to another vet. Dr. Erica Erickson from Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital needed just 10 minutes to figure it out (side note: we love Jessie’s new vet). Just like many running backs in the NFL, our little Jessie had ruptured the cranial cruciate ligament or CCL (ACL of the dog world).

This meant surgery. This is where TPLO comes in. TPLO is the process by which the stifle joint is stabilized by leveling the angle of the tibia to the femur. That was a mouthful, here’s a couple of pictures.


Here’s the anatomy of the stifle joint:

Stifle Joint

Here’s the stifle joint before the operation:

TPLO

Here’s the stifle joint after the operation:

TPLO {tplo1} {tplo1} TPLO

You can see how the surgery changes the angle of the tibia and stabilizes the stifle joint.

By the time we found out this, Jessie had become really lame on that leg and we had to move the day we wanted to do the surgery up. The week before last we had a consult with the surgeon that was going to perform the surgery and he re-examined Jessie just to make sure that the TPLO was the right solution. The surgeon diagnosed the same thing and explained the percentages to us. He seemed optimistic that Jessie would recover most of the leg/knee function. We settled on performing the surgery this past Monday.

This past Monday I dropped off Jessie at the surgery center at 7:30 A.M., Jessie was in surgery by 10 and received a call not much after that the surgery had gone well and my pooch was recouping. Jessie not only ruptures the CCL, she also ruptured the meniscus. She would have to stay the night for observation but she was doing well.

She gave me this “what did they do?!” look when I picked her up but was generally happy to see me. She was loopy still from the drugs she had taken. They clipped the whole hind area for the surgery and two “cuffs” on the from legs (I’m guessing for IV’s and such). She also is wearing an E-collar so she doesn’t lick the incision. Here’s a couple of pictures I took after getting home with here.

{tplo2} Jessie TPLO {tplo2} Jessie TPLO {tplo2} Jessie TPLO

Yeah, she was definitely not thrilled about the E-collar. She has worn one before and she hated it.

Now the tough part began. We have to keep her in a crate while not under supervision so she doesn’t hurt herself. That meant getting the crate she live in most of the time while we lived in the apartment. She was too happy about that. Also, we have to take her out on the leash to the back yard so she can do her thing.

This past week has gone well with Jessie spending most of the time in the crate. She did not put any weight on the leg, understandably but, she has eaten well and relaxed.

It has been a week now and yesterday she started putting weight on the leg and this morning she was walking mostly with that leg bearing weight. This is awesome news. Here are a couple of pics I took today.

{tplo3} Jessie TPLO 1 {tplo3} Jessie TPLO 1

You can see in the first picture that she is putting weight on the leg. And on the second picture you can see the look that says “You know, I could kill you right now if I wanted”.

She now hangs out in the living room while we are around and in our bedroom while the kids are running around. At least the E-collar is only for the first 10-14 days. Once the incision is better we can take that thing off.

After this week, the rehab starts. Daily walks twice a day of about 5 minutes incrementing the time little by little, warm packs for the knee, stretching, etc… No free roaming in the back yard for a long while though.

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